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Irene Kelly

SIMPLE PATH (Relentless Nashville/Irk Records) • Irene Kelley

The natural beauty of Bluegrass has yet to be corrupted. And Country always feels so clean when it's laced with Bluegrass.

In the first ten seconds, it was plain that a beautifully made record had begun playing. Such a relief to hear something so well arranged, recorded and engineered. Grateful kudos to Scott Neubert, who co-produced, engineered, and played excellent tracks throughout the record: acoustic and electric guitars, dobro, lap steel, and mandolin. Truly impressive.

Irene Kelley hits the bullseye. Fantastic. Her voice is moving, full of tone and character, and I believe what she's singing.

The great cast of players includes Viktor Krauss on string bass and Joey Click on electric bass, Bob Mummert on drums, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Brent Truitt on mandolin, and Peter Hyrka and Daniel Nadasdi on accordian. Cowriters Claire Lynch and Kim Patton-Johnson sing harmony, as do the producer, Craig Fuller, Tim Hensley and Mel Besher. Many good cowriters did not sing harmony: Mark Irwin, Michael Joyce, Jeff Hughes, Dave Gillon, Kim Richey, Darrell Scott and Billy and Terry Smith. That's a very impressive list of cowriters in anyone's book.

It's small wonder that the tunes are so fine, with a great artist and a rich and varied stable of tunesmiths. There's nothing I don't like about this record. If only great country singers like Irene Kelley and Buddy Miller were being played on Country Radio, a lot of listeners and consumers that went away might gladly return. I may be a naive optimist, but I still believe that great Country music will come back. Highly recommended. • FG

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